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Alec Baldwin to Be Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter Over ‘rust’ shooting

On Thursday, a state prosecutor announced that Alec Baldwin will be prosecuted with involuntary manslaughter for killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in 2021 while filming “Rust” in New Mexico. Santa Fe’s top prosecutor, Mary Carmack-Altwies, said western armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would be charged with involuntary manslaughter. He said all charges would be filed by month’s end.

Baldwin attorney Luke Nikas said, “this decision distorts Halyna Hutchins’ tragic death and reflects a horrific miscarriage of justice.” Hutchins’ family appreciated the announcement. Freely join Reuters to get the whole article.

After more than a year of investigation, Baldwin was charged after a revolver fired a live round in October 2021 while he was rehearsing on the movie set outside Santa Fe, the state capital. Hollywood was surprised. The same.45-caliber bullet that killed Hutchins wounded Joel Souza, the film’s director.

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New Mexico officials blame election denial for Democratic attacks. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office inquiry didn’t explain how to live ammo got onto the set. According to a police report, David Halls, the assistant director who gave Baldwin the gun, told the actor it was “cold,” meaning it had no live bullets or blank cartridges.

Carmack-Altwies said Halls pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon. Gutierrez-Reed handled the gun before Halls. Prosecutors informed many media sites that performers were required to check firearm safety and observe basic gun rules including not aiming weapons at people.

Baldwin disagrees, saying the armorer and first director were responsible for firearm safety and that he was told to aim the pistol at the cinematographer. “On my watch, no one is above the law, and everyone deserves justice,” Carmack-Altwies added.

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Legal experts argued that if on-set professionals told Baldwin the gun wasn’t loaded, he wouldn’t be compelled to inspect it, making a conviction unlikely. “It’s a pretty aggressive charging decision, and the defense has a good case,” said personal injury attorney and former prosecutor Neama Rahmani, who wasn’t involved in the “Rust” case. “Accidents like this are not criminal.”

The prosecutor said Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed will be charged “in the alternative” with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, meaning a jury will decide if they were guilty and under which legal definition. Negligent simple involuntary manslaughter carries a $5,000 punishment and 18 months in jail.

They might be sentenced to five years in jail if prosecutors prove more than negligence in firearm use. Baldwin denies pulling the replica Pietta.45-caliber long Colt revolver’s trigger and killing Hutchins. The revolver “functioned normally” in an FBI forensic examination.

Mr. Baldwin had no reason to assume the rifle or movie set held a live bullet. His colleagues told him the rifle had no live ammunition. “We will win these charges,” his attorney Nikas asserted. Actors union firearms advice SAG-AFTRA urges performers to treat guns as if they are loaded with blanks and rely on weapons handlers for safety instructions, including when to point a firearm at someone on camera.

“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert,” the union claimed, calling Carmack-Altwies’ charging decision “uninformed.” “Band of Brothers” star Kirk Acevedo supported Baldwin. Most actors have never fired a gun. “The armorer or prop master must demonstrate firearm handling,” Acevedo tweeted.

Brian Panish, a Hutchins family lawyer, said his findings supported accusations. In 2021, Matt Hutchins, the cinematographer’s husband, sued Baldwin and others for violating professional safety standards. “Rust” executive producer Hutchins settled last year. Production resumed outside New Mexico in early 2023.

In April, New Mexico’s workplace safety agency fined the film’s production firm $137,000, the highest allowed, for “willful” safety failures that killed Hutchins. Camera operators at Bonanza Creek Ranch south of Santa Fe walked off the set hours before the event, alleging inadequate safety and working conditions.

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